Steve's Adventures in Bellows Building Land

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Steve Smith, May 22, 2012.

  1. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    After a bit of tidying up at the weekend, I found an old changing bag with a broken zip which I don't use any more. I decided to cut it up and make it into a set of 5" x 4" bellows with the help of the laser cutter we have at work.

    I have already documented this on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150831112427011.400754.538602010&type=1

    I know some people don't like Facebook as they think their souls will be stolen after just one visit so I will start to add some pictures here in subsequent posts.

    Feel free to point, laugh and tell me where I went wrong or alternatively, post your own bellows making hints and tips.


    Steve.
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I started off with a sheet of polyester about 0.3mm thick and laminated a high strength sheet adhesive to both sides. Then I used our laser cutter to cut out the shapes of the stiffener ribs. The rear was taped up to prevent the pieces from falling out. The laser was also used to mark out various laminating lines to the front so I could line up the covering cloth and cut it to the correct length.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I then removed half of the release liner from the first set of stiffeners and lined up the edge of the outer cover down the centre line. This is the side which will have the overlapping join.
    I then carried on removing the release liner pieces from each set of stiffeners and sticking the cloth down until it was stuck to all four sets.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Then it was turned over and the tape was removed followed by the outer framework leaving just the stiffener ribs stuck to the outer cover material.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nice. I'm going to eventually try this with some translucent material that light can pass through.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Then the inner cloth was applied in the same manner as the outer cloth. The join was offset by about 30mm to prevent excessive build up of thickness in one area.

    The last picture shows an extra strip of adhesive along the overlapping edge. This is the outer cover. The inner cloth has already been finished in a similar manner.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Now for the fun bit - folding. You usually need to use all three of you hands to do this. A second brain can be useful too.

    The rotary cutter sitting on the top is to stop it unravelling itself. Something I would not be too pleased about!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2012
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The two heaviest books I could find at the time being used to teach the material what its new shape is going to be.

    I think the titles are quite appropriate.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Finally, a couple of trial runs I made earlier using paper and a polythene bag. If Lomo are interested in making a view camera with lots of light leaks, they can contact me to supply the bellows.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What will you use that for?


    Steve.
     
  11. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    I have a broken PLC that I want to do this with...

    1a.jpg
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I see. I would do that with clear polyester stiffeners and just the outer cover made from a translucent PVC or similar material.

    I have always wanted to build a shed with a bellows style roof. Just think of two of the sides and rotate it by 45 degrees. The guttering would be fun to do.


    Steve.
     
  13. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wow, very nice!
    I did something similar. A 'poor-man's' version where I used scissors to cut the polyester ribs free in the middle and left the ribs attached at the ends. Then cut the ends free after gluing to the first fabric with spray-on contact cement.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2012
  14. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have enough cloth left over to make another set so I am going to do an experiment.

    In this first set of bellows the inner and outer cloths are only stuck together by the adhesive on the stiffeners. they are free to move away from each other in the surrounding areas although the folds will most likely keep them together.

    I want to make another set with the outer cloth laminated in the same way but with a piece of adhesive over the whole of the inner cloth so the two are also joined together in the areas around the stiffeners.

    I don't know if it will make any difference but I will find out soon!


    Steve.
     
  15. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

    Messages:
    1,135
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thats cool...
     
  16. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,560
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I made my first bellows I used some cloth from the fabric store that was as light blocking as I could find while being fairly thin. I bought some thin blank liner also. Then I made a layout on very thin Kraft paper and glued stiffeners onto it. Over that I glued, with spray adhesive again, a layer of tin foil. Over the tin foil I glued the backing cloth. Then I folded and glued the overlap together. I don't have the bellows out to photograph it right now but some thirty years later it doesn't leak. It's been sitting most of the time. I made the camera out if Brass and Cherry predominately with hand tools. The key is light tight and flexible.

    For my new project I had an 11x14 bellows made. I do believe in self made though as much as possible. When I get up my horses I'm completing the 11x14 film holders I started. I made a traditional holder and it's nearly identical to the original specifications laid out a century ago. now with the working holder and the drawings I can go at will.

    Curt
     
  17. himself

    himself Member

    Messages:
    394
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    looks to have worked really well and lasers... wow, I had to cut all mine out one by one with a Stanley knife.
    oh, and how come you only went for black, surely something a little more fun could have been in order :wink:
     
  18. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I want a laser cutter. :sad:
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The only reason I made the bellows was because I had the changing bag which was no longer any good. Other colours would be good though.

    I like the idea of the foil. not just to make it light tight but because it would hold the folded corners in the right shape. (can't cut it on the laser though!).


    Steve.
     
  20. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

    Messages:
    1,428
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    The Armpit o
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Yeah, I had decided that I was just going to use a drill press and drill a hole through it, which I'd place a metal tube through, but then I found this guys shop on etsy....

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/CECorkLightingCo/sold?ref=shopinfo_sales_leftnav


    After thinking about it, aside from the bellows, I think I could probably make one of these on my own.
     
  21. himself

    himself Member

    Messages:
    394
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    shoulda run to the local charity shop and picked up an old bit of material, I suppose you still could, but then it may end up being too thick to fold properly.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Perhaps one of my Hawaiian shirts on the outside.


    Steve.
     
  23. himself

    himself Member

    Messages:
    394
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :laugh:

    now you're thinking